Saturday, January 30, 2010

2009 in review

phew. i cannot believe that 2009 is over! where did it go? the months flew by, yet creeped along at the same time. strange how that happens. so, since the time is ticking away, i think it's only appropriate to give pause to the year that passed me's what i remember:

-rang in the new year with some new friends from church. left the party feeling queasy, real queasy! *and no, i had not been drinking!* came down with the stomach plague of death. truly miserable!! was sick and laid up on the couch for almost a week. i guess that should have been a sign about the new year ;)
-hosted our first large scale par-tay at our newly renovated house for the UL vs. UK basketball game. sadly, there were more cardinals' fans there than cats' fans. even more sadly, we suffered a miserable defeat. boo.
-saw wicked with some friends when it came here and LOVED it! ryan loved it too and was finally convinced that broadway shows and musicals are not the worst torture he could be subjected to :)
-got hit by the ice storm of 2009! we lost power for only a few hours and were among the few lucky ones that got it restored within the same day. ryan's parents came to stay with us for 5 days while they were waiting on their power to return. it was basically a big slumber party - movies, snacks, "light as a feather, stiff as a board" though :)

-not much to report...well, at least not much that i can currently remember...except that my sweet hubby celebrated his 24th birthday. this was his 7th birthday we've celebrated together and although we didn't do anything magnificent, it was still a fun day to spend together.

-we decided to dive right in to parenthood and attended an informational meeting on foster care/adoption through the state of kentucky.
-we finished the application in a matter of days and were well on our way to crazytown *aka - foster parenting*
-my youngest niece, mikenna, turned 5 and we celebrated with a gymnastics b-day party. *note to self, i think i'll just have boys! a bunch of crazy little girls (and some boys) bouncing around a gym is not my idea of a good time*
-i had a night on the town with my momma. we went to dinner and a cirque du soleil performance. cirque was great but spending time alone with my mom was even better

-ryan and i took a day trip to cincinnati with some great friends. we hit up the gap, old navy, banana republic factory store, ikea and more. the only downside to the trip was listening to cheryl and lindsay rock out to old soft rock hits all the way home. zzzzzzzzzzz
-began taking the 9 weeks of classes to become certified to foster/adopt.
-started putting together our nursery! painted, assembled crib and bookcase, picked out bedding, etc.

-went to my first ever races at churchill downs with my besties from high school, their men and my man. *sidebar - this was the first time i met my friend EB's new man, matt. fast forward to today...they are ENGAGED!! congrats elizabeth and matt!*
-had our first state home study. got to meet our SW for the first time and instantly connected. we love her and are so thankful to have such a great advocate. many times over the last few months we have appreciated having someone to talk to and tell us that the things we're feeling are not crazy :)
-ryan took the leap and quit his job at hh gregg to begin a new job selling electronic message centers/LED signs. we were scared but feeling blessed for the new opportunity despite the slow economy.

-we attended many parties, baby showers and weddings. it was a great time to catch up with old friends and reconnect with new ones.
-i celebrated my 24th birthday, shared with my sister's 29th birthday. after all these years, jenn and i have still managed not to kill each other :) instead, i've been blessed to see our relationship grow more and more each year.
-my oldest niece, mikayla, celebrated her 7th b-day. her party was complete with a large blow up water slide - which was responsible for finally teaching ryan that he's not a kid anymore. they just don't make those blow up water slides for a person of his size. too bad he had to learn that lesson the hard way as he flew over the wall of the slide and face planted on the ground! *sorry, i unfortunately don't have video of that.*

-ryan and i celebrated our 3rd anniversary together. we've had a great few years and i can only imagine what's still in store for us. cliche i know, but i absolutely do love him more today than on july 1st, 2006!!
-ryan left me at home for a trip to las vegas for work. i would say that i was jealous, but that would be untrue...casinos are not my thing, just ask my sister!
-i attended several conferences for work around the louisville area. i got to meet lots of new people and enjoying connecting with other organizations doing similar work.
-we went with the family to georgia for our annual family reunion/camp meeting trip. we only stayed a couple of days and then went on to florida for a beach vacation with our friend josh and cheryl. we had a blast in sandestin and hope to go back soon!!

-more parties, showers and celebrations. one was especially important though - my sister's graduation from college! after taking several years off school to raise her 2 girls, she went back to school to finish her undergraduate degree. we are all very proud of her hard work and dedication, and were so happy to celebrate with her.
-began a new project at work involving sorting and preparing 2000 pairs of eyeglasses to be distributed around the world. it was awesome to see the teams get involved with the project and to know that these glasses could potentially change the lives of kids or adults in countries where things as simple as glasses are a huge rarity.
-went to bingo with a group of friends for a girls night out. we had a blast but had no winners...oh well though! the company was what we went for anyway :)
-ryan played in our church softball league, and i got to re-live the glory days of high school again by attending and cheering him on.

-we had a multi-family yard sale at our house. we made a little bit of money, but more importantly, got rid of a lot of junk!!
-had a dinner with some girls from high school and got to catch up on life. God has blessed me with these friendships and i treasure them so much.
-got plugged into a new small group and got to get to know several new people from church. we love everyone in the group and are excited to see what God has in store for us for the rest of the year together.

-ryan and i camped out with folks from the church at our church camp out. it was our first camping trip together as a married couple and in the same tent ;)
-celebrated the arrival of our friends josh and cheryl's sweet new baby girl, miss karis!
-attended a beautiful fall wedding for amber and corey, which just happened to be our last "date" as non-parents.
-ryan headed off to kansas for a business trip as a married man with no kids, yet came home to a family of 4!! R & P joined our family and our lives. our worlds were rocked for several weeks (and even now) but in the best way.
-figured out that God has a funny sense of humor as we re-enrolled our 13 year old in school, got him plugged into an after school program, ryan began coaching his basketball team, etc. all despite adamantly telling all the SWs previously that we would NEVER take a teenager!!
-we took the boys trick or treating in my parents neighborhood. the kids loaded up in the back of my dad's trailer and we pulled them around the hilly neighborhood to collect candy. R was a "chick magnet" *his costume was a big magnet that hung around his neck with baby chicks stuck to it* and baby P was a lobster.

-finally began to get into the groove of life as a family of 4. God provided great friends and family to support us through all the crazy days. we had several weeks of people bringing meals and loving on us and the boys.
-R had a little hiccup with school, involving a small fight and got suspended for 2 days. never thought that i'd already be getting calls from the principal's office but once again, God has that funny sense of humor!
-i assumed my new role as bus driver/chauffeur and took the boys to a series of appointments, including but not limited to: the dentist, therapist, parent visitations, pediatrician, health department, visits with the social workers, etc. i never thought i could put so many miles on my car in such a short period of time!
-we celebrated our first thanksgiving as a family, and were busy going to a series of dinners with our families. it was so nice to see R mesh with some of the older kids in ryan's extended family and to have baby P loved on by everyone. if anything, we were just so thankful of God giving us time with the boys and to allow us the privilege of parenting them for awhile.

-we celebrated Christ's birth with many church, work and family parties.
-ryan, R and i read the book, "the glory of christmas" together as we prepared our hearts for the season.
-ryan and i spent our first night away from the boys. after his company christmas party at the mohammad ali center, we stayed overnight in a hotel downtown. the break from the kids was great but more difficult than i thought! *although, the extra sleep made it easier!!*
-we got to have many conversations with R about the real meaning of christmas, while still enjoying seeing him open gifts and participate in our family christmas traditions
-the gees *aka, my friends from high school* and our significant others had our annual christmas party. we got to celebrate the growing families among us and enjoy the holiday season together.
-my grandparents from tennessee and extended family from georgia got to come up to visit and share christmas day with us for the first time in years.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

the little beaver

as i mentioned previously, P has become quite the busy body. he hardly sits still for one second and loves to be on the go. however, he also loves to pull himself up on furniture and see what he can get into. a few weeks ago, he began the charade of pulling himself up in his crib and standing. he would stand there for a really long time because he wasn't really sure how to get down yet, and most of the time he was happy just to be hanging out on the side of his crib. however, he would eventually let a shriek (or fifty) of frustration when he finally got mad about not being able to sit down. then, a few days later the shrieking stopped. so, being the genius new mommy that i am (*ha!), i just figured that P had finally learned to sit on his own and had gone sweetly to sleep. boy was i wrong! instead, upon waking him up, i discovered that he had found a new hobby...chewing on the crib rails!

now, i knew this would happen eventually, but he only had two small teeth so i figured that we weren't to that point yet, or at least not to the point where he could do much damage. wrong again! those two innocent looking little teeth did some major demolition on his crib. one time when i woke him from nap, his sweet pale face was covered in what looked like dark freckles. upon closer inspection, i realized that it was just tiny flecks of the dark wood from his crib. yikes! so, that was the last straw. i searched the web high and low for a solution for covering the crib rails. unfortunately there are not many decent looking solutions for this problem when you have a convertible crib. i finally found someone on etsy that makes crib rail covers but they started at $100, which was not exactly what i had in mind.

so, what was a girl to do? i didn't want to risk the little beaver destroying the crib and possibly hurting himself in the i decided to make my own crib rail covers. now, i'm not the best at sewing when i don't have a pattern to follow, but somehow i managed and they turned out pretty good. i found some of the same blue and brown octagon fabric i used to make the mobile and added another brown fabric with tiny polka dots. i lined them with a single faced quilted fabric and attached them to the crib with ribbon ties. here's the end result:

(*please excuse the poor photo quality! i took these with my iphone when i had a quick second)
and here he P's twin:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

3 months and going strong...

i can't believe it, but we've already had the boys over 3 months!! i'll have to admit though that some days it seems like it's been much longer while other days, it seems like it's gone by in a blink of an eye. one thing is for sure though - both boys have changed so much in the past 3 months! the 2 boys i picked up at the cps office on october 16th are not the same boys who i pick up from school and my mom's house every day. they have both grown and matured, and my feelings for them have also grown and matured in ways that have surprised even me. i don't think words can really express how terrified i was the day i picked them up, and today it terrifies me to think about if we had decided not to accept this placement. i wonder a lot about what type of home they would have gone into and the HUGE life lessons ryan and i would have missed out on.

most days i am just overwhelmed with God's provisions for our family. i think back to how i felt 3 months ago and remember how tired, unprepared and ill-equipped i was to undertake raising 2 kids, much less 2 kids with such a huge age gap and coming from such a rough background. the only way i can explain everything that happened is that God was, and IS, in charge. we should have never even received the call for a placement so far outside of our acceptance scale, yet God saw to it that we were called.

over the last 3 months a lot has changed about the boys:

P has grown soooo much and is now more than busting out of most 12 month outfits. he's also all over the place!! he can crawl faster than any baby i've known and now i know why people say you can't take your eyes off babies even for 2 seconds! he's been pulling up on anything he can reach and much to my dismay, has really taken a liking towards chewing on his crib rails. he still only has his 2 bottom teeth, but that just makes his smile even more endearing. he's not saying a lot of understandable words yet (well, except for "da da da da da, dada") but he makes a large variety of noises. since we got him, he's always made this growling noise but now along with his growls, he also grunts, can make a popping noise with his lips, blows raspberries, and occasionally makes a high pitch noise that sounds like "hi".

R is doing well in school and seriously seems like a different kid. he seems to be way more self-confident and can actually almost take a compliment now. his grades continue to go up and up, and he even got selected to represent his school at the regional science fair this march. he is obedient (for the most part) and listens when we are talking to him, yet still knows how to joke around and have a good time with us. he loves playing games, especially card games, so we play a lot of phase 10 and uno!! he's doing well on the basketball team and has really improved over the season. at first, because he is sooooo much taller than everyone else, he just looked super uncoordinated and had a hard time focusing on what he was supposed to be doing in the games. now, he's much more engaged when he's playing and is not afraid to get aggressive and go after rebounds and such.

we love these boys and can't imagine our lives without them. after 3 months, ryan and i have learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and the God we serve. grace definitely has a new meaning to us and we hope that we will continue growing in our relationships with our Father, each other and these boys.